ISIS The Junior Varsity, Sea Levels, and Other Matters

Chaos Manor View, Friday, May 29, 2015

Larry Niven is off to Chicago for the Nebula ceremonies, and will receive his well deserved Grand Master award. Congratulations. And last night at LASFS another of my collaborators, John DeChancie, announced publication of the ninth book in his Castle Perilous series.  If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s action/adventure comedy fantasy, and his latest is the ninth volume.  If you aren’t familiar with it, start with the first, Castle Perilous. His other series, starting with Star Rigger, is straight action.adventure SF, I liked it.

We’re working on a novel, straight science fiction, about a near future time when we have a foothold in the asteroids. The Bureaucrats run Earth and tolerate the asteroid miners. The protagonist is Lisabetta, a teenage girl largely raised by an Artificial Intelligence on an asteroid prospecting ship after her mother dies. When her father is killed by “salvagers” she falls into the care of Earth Child Welfare Services, as the bureaucracy wrangles over who owns her ship. We’re about 40,000 words into it; I don’t type very fast any longer. so John is doing most of the work, as Steve Barnes is doing most of the work on the book Niven and I are doing with him.



I read once again your latest commentary about how it is not yet to late to stop ISIS, but you present no cogent reason why the US has a compelling interest to destroy ISIS. ISIS may be brutal, but so was Saddam. Just ask the Kurds and the Shia. While Saddam had been extremely close to acquiring nuclear weapons at the time of the first gulf war and certainly would have acquired nukes if he had remained in power long enough for the sanctions to be lifted (about one year?), there is no credible prospect of ISIS acquiring nukes anytime soon. Since NK already has nukes and Obama is negotiating to legitimize Iran’s nukes, two out of three of the members of Bush’s “axis of evil” will have the capability to wage nuclear terrorism against the US. It is becoming obvious that once Iran demonstrates a nuke, other countries will feel compelled to get nukes too. We will inevitably live in a world where the nuclear club will cease to be exclusive.

James Crawford=

I thought I had made it painfully clear.

At present, the Caliphate is not a major threat to the United States, but that is due to the lack of ability, not intention. As they grow that discrepancy diminishes. ISIS becomes more legitimate as they expand the territory they govern – but only so long as they do so by their interpretation of the Koran; which they believe commands them to make no peace with infidels. They can make truce, but never peace.

Considering the resources they have now, and their rate of growth, at what point does conflict become inevitable? Yes, they are far away, and we are developing some independence from Middle East oil and gas; but we have a political involvement with others in that area of the world; not just Israel, although I know of no serious candidate running on a platform of abandoning our commitment to Israel; there are also Christians in the area, although fewer now than a decade ago.

There was a time when we might have simply cut and run. Middle East for the Middle Easterners, and we wish peace and good will to everyone. That time has passed, partly due to our own actions in that area, just as our choosing the anti-Slavic side in the Balkan crisis changed our relations with Russia.


Since the Iraqi Army won’t fight, while the Iraqi government has a quite a bit of oil money, the logical solution is hiring Western mercenaries.

I figure that 10,000 would get the job done.

Gregory Cochran

I doubt there are enough organized and trained. The US can use a Foreign Legion for long term overseas commitments, bur building that kind of force takes time, and we don’t have it. I would undertake to eliminate the Caliphate with one division now, or two at year’s end (with the Air Support in all cases: all the Warthogs and enough support to build bases and operate them). A year from now would require more.

Mercs could be trained now to keep the situation stable, but they are too late to stabilize it.



How so? On Sea Level Rise Off The Coast Of Florida
One of your contributors was perplexed by the notion that the sea level could rise three or four times faster off the coast of Florida than it is rising in other parts of the world because all of the oceans are connected, presuming that this means sea level rise should be uniform around the world.
While the oceans are all connected, sea level around the world is not uniform. In point of fact, if you could calm the seas of the entire planet at once so that there was not a single wave anywhere in the world and then subtract away the tides, a frozen ocean surface would reveal hills and valleys deviating a full sixty feet from a mean altitude. How?
There are several reasons. First, water does not flow to the lowest spot as we were all told as children. It flows to the highest gravitational potential. Generally, lower spots have higher gravitational potential, so that is where the water goes. But, anomalies in how mass is distributed through the body of the Earth allows water to ‘pile up’ on some places, being attracted to the mass. The Earth’s continents represent such a mass distribution anomaly, so sea level will be generally high there than elsewhere in the oceans. Variations in the density of the Earth’s crust also affect sea level the same way. Valleys on the sea floor cause a surface low in gravity while sea mounts cause a surface high in gravity. Unusually dense pockets of material in the mantel attract more sea water than do low or average density pockets.
Second, water expands when heated, contracts when cooled (until it freezes), so hot water has more volume than cold water. The coast of Florida hosts the Gulf Stream, already one of the hottest currents of water in the world and it is getting warmer.
Third, water in motion tends to pile up due to frictional forces. The Gulf Stream off of Florida is moving at quite a clip and getting faster due to its getting warmer, leading to more piling up.
Fourth, the distribution of water in the oceans is affected by the Earth’s rotation, causing more water to flow towards the equator and less towards the poles. This effect fights a gravitational influence that wants to pull the water towards the poles as the Earth physically bulges out at the equator and is flattened towards its center at the poles, making gravity weaker at the equator and stronger at the poles. If the Earth stopped rotating, the water would leave the equator completely until the Earth’s mass becomes more spherically distributed, which would take millions of years.
Fifth, local affects of long term wind patterns push water away from some areas and pile it up in others. As a child, I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and could watch the water disappear from the western shore where I lived for a week or more each Fall due to steady twenty mile an hour winds blowing from west to east over the bay. Water that would have been up to twenty feet deep was gone, leaving dry land for hundred of yards off the shore. I am sure the folks on the Eastern Shore were as alarmed by the excess water as we were by its loss. The point is, steady onshore winds contribute to the rise of sea level.
The East coast of the United States happens to have a number of these factors dead against it, so a lot more of any excess water volume is going to end up on the East coast of the United States and not elsewhere in the world. Florida happens to be deeper in the cross-hairs of these factors.



Buchanan: Secularists vs. Suicide Bombers.



Roland Dobbins

The coldest case.



Roland Dobbins


: oh REALLY?

Stephanie Osborn

“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”


“I Don’t Think We Are Losing To ISIS”


President Obama’s statement to the effect that he does not think we are losing to ISIS despite the fact that ISIS is advancing and we are retreating struck a resonant chord in memory, but I could not at first recall where I had come across such an idiotic, farcical statement.

Then I recalled a line from the satirical 1957 science fiction novel cum terrorist s’ handbook “Wasp” by Eric Frank Russell that I had read as a teenager:

“For months we have been making triumphant retreats before a demoralized enemy who is advancing in utter disorder.”

BRAVO ZULU, Mr. Obama!!!  Once again, life imitates art…


Rodger Morris

The last official view from the President was that the Caliphate is the junior varsity






Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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